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Raining? Snowing? Too cold? Tips to stay fit during winter

My husband still teases me about the time he spotted me completely drenched, trying to jog during a downpour when we were dating. What kind of a oddball is she, he wondered. Now, I'm a bit less daring and, as a recent BeWell@Stanford feature reminds us, you don't have to get wet, or cold, to stay fit during the winter.

As outlined in the piece, indoor options abound, and it's possible to modify favorite outdoor pursuits such as:

Running: You can use a hallway, garage, kitchen, living room, or local gym for alternative running exercises such as butt kickers, side-to-side shuffle, backward/forward running, jumping jacks and high knees. You can also try interval training on the treadmill to keep indoor running interesting.

Walking: Walk indoors on the treadmill, at a mall, or anywhere you feel comfortable. You can do step-ups at the bottom of a staircase, or even purchase an old school step platform for less than $100.

Strength Training: Bodyweight exercises are a great way to get a strength workout without using any equipment. An exercise band, hand weights, a Swiss ball, and/or TRX/suspension trainers can all be purchased and used at home, as well. You can also find credible workout videos (DVD/online) that are safe and evidence-based. Another option: Incorporate exercise while doing chores, such as calf raises while washing dishes or doing planks while watching TV (during commercials).

Biking: Purchasing a bike trainer is an option for people who want to ride indoors, but would rather not be in the gym. Trainers can cost anywhere between $100-400 and can be set up in your garage or inside your house. Additional equipment such as a mat, fan, towel, etc. also may be useful. Cycling classes can also be a fun and worthwhile way to stay in biking shape during the winter.

Of course, it can be tough to stay motivated - with dark days and blustery conditions making exercise daunting. The BeWell@Stanford team recommends working out with friends or co-workers, signing up for an activity, which requires a commitment, and keeping the many good reasons for exercising at the top of your mind.

And if you do venture outdoors, make sure you dress in layers (and include lights/reflectors if it's dark) and cover up those exposed extremities.

Previously: Why I never walked to school: the impact of the built environment on health, Injured? Tips on maintaining your physical and mental fitness and "Nudges" in health: Lessons from a fitness tracker on how to motivate patients
Photo by bertvthul

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